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Louisiana governor: Health care system could be overwhelmed in early April


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Sunday that the state’s health care system could become overwhelmed by early April.

Edwards told ABC’s “This Week” that coronavirus cases are “surging our capacity now” with a “spread that is growing faster than we would like to see.”

Governors, including Edwards, across the country are racing against time to obtain enough medical supplies like ventilators in order to continue to combat the virus.

“We remain on a trajectory, really, to overwhelm our capacity to deliver health care,” Edwards said.

“By the end of the first week in April, we think the first real issue is going to be ventilators,” he added when laying out the timeline. “And we think it’s about the fourth or fifth of April before, down in the New Orleans area, we’re unable to put people on ventilators who need them. And then several days later, we will be out of beds.”

The Louisiana governor told Martha Raddatz that the state has placed orders through the national stockpile or private vendors for 12,000 ventilators and has received 192.

Edwards said he is “hopeful that the curve does start to flatten,” but acknowledged the state, which is third in the U.S. in the number of cases per capita and second in the number of deaths per capita, is in a “very difficult place.”   

The governor also said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the state has received personal protective equipment from the federal government, including 100,000 masks, but added that “everyone’s struggling to get” medical equipment.

He said coronavirus has been confirmed in 56 of the state’s 64 parishes, as officials attempt to “ramp up our medical capacity.”

“So while the hot spot is down around New Orleans, it is statewide,” he said.

The governor issued the stay-at-home order last week and pleaded with Louisiana residents to comply with the order and not wait for the government to enforce it.

“We should know in the next three or four days whether the stay-at-home order that I put in place is going to have the intended effect,” he said on ABC. “But we know that mitigation works, but it only works to the extent that it’s actually complied with.”

Louisiana has documented 3,315 cases in the state, with 137 deaths. A total of 927 people have been hospitalized with 336 on ventilators, according to the state’s health department.

–This report was updated at 11:49 a.m.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Louisiana medical supplies overwhelmed health care system Sunday shows ventilators

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